A Chicagoan's take on Diwali

A Chicagoan's take on Diwali
Small clay lamps (diva lamps) lit up for Diwali

Diwali is an Indian festival that is celebrated by Indian communities around the world. Known also as the ‘festival of lights,’ it is celebrated by the Hindu and Sikh communities in Chicago, with the day marking the triumph of good over evil.

Festivities include the distributing of Indian sweets to families and friends, the lighting up of small clay lamps called diva lamps and fireworks.

Serena Wadhwa, a Chicagoan shares her experiences of Diwali.
 

How Serena celebrates Diwali.

I usually only celebrate with my family, (we don't have extended family in the Chicago area). I don't usually take a day off, but I do make it a point to visit my family.

We spend time together. We eat, pray, love (no reference to the book!)

What Serena looks forward to on Diwali.

I think what I look forward to the most is spending time with my family. I don't get to see them as often as I want to, so it's a treat to bring in a New Year with them.

I also like that it provides the opportunity to reflect on what I want the New Year to look like in terms of my personal and professional life.

What Diwali events are happening in Chicago?

The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago (in Lemont) has some festivities, including fireworks last night. Many of the Indian religious/cultural sites such as Manav Seva Mandir in Bensenville and Sikh religious Society of Chicago, Gurdwara Sahib in Palatine have their celebrations of this event.

Is the average Chicagoan aware of the festivities of Diwali?

I suspect some people are aware of Diwali, but I have found that most people are not. It isn't until I mention something that someone may be aware (unless they've heard of it before or did their own research).

What Diwali means for her and her family. Sum up Diwali and what it is about to the average Chicagoan.

I've understood Diwali as representing light being victorious over darkness and hope and faith that the New Year will be prosperous and fruitful as a result of this victory.

Obviously the foundation of Diwali varies, depending on one's religious beliefs and what part of India one is from, but the holiday does represent celebration of Gods and Goddesses and life, joy and light. I find it interesting that Diwali, this year, falls on the day that we turn our clocks back!

One more hour to celebrate well! That can be an auspicious symbol!

Thank you for your time Serena! Have a great Diwali!
 

More about Serena can be found here by checking out her blog  StressMart.

Check out my feature on Bhangra in Chicago by clicking here.

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Tags: chicago, Diwali, Hindu, Sikh

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